What do you regularly check?
How often do you check your bank account? It is one of the things I do first thing in the morning. Why? Just to check.
How often do you check your social media feed? First thing in the morning? Last thing at night? All day long? Can’t get enough Facebook?
How often do you check your heart rate and blood pressure? Ah……
This is one thing you should check regularly
You should know your baseline blood pressure and heart rate AND check it regularly
Let’s go back and talk about your financial health
What and how much do you know about your financial health? As we approach retirement or if we are currently retired, I will venture to guess that you know what you have in the bank. You probably know if you have stocks and bonds and what they are worth. How about what you owe or don’t owe on the home you live in. If you are renting, the cost of rent per month. I would even bet you know what you spend on your utilities (gas, electric) and what you are paying for cable or satellite so you can watch TV and use the internet.
You likely have a pretty good pulse on these numbers and probably don’t leave your finances to chance or serendipity. Am I right?
Let’s talk physical health and your healthspan
You may have money, possessions, love of family and friends – but it may not matter if we don’t have our health. Do you want to live out your life being as healthy as possible, or is chronic illness and not feeling well good enough? Our healthspan, or living as healthy as possible for as long as possible is what makes us enjoy the people and things we have and love.
Use that analogy of knowing your finances and ask yourself if you know your health?
Do you know your baseline blood pressure, or do you just leave it to your healthcare professional to take it? Do you know what your resting heart rate is in the morning? How about your medications? Do you know what you are taking and why?
Your blood pressure
Normal blood pressure should be 120/80 or LESS. Many of us, when we go to the doctor’s office, our blood pressure is higher, so that really is not our “baseline” blood pressure. The top number is called your systolic blood pressure and will often go up when we are sitting in the doctor’s office with our little gown on getting more anxious by the minute. It’s not our fault that we are anxious, it just happens. The bottom number, or diastolic blood pressure should not vary too much even with stress. (I will cover more on the specifics of blood pressure in a future blog).
To get to your baseline blood pressure, you should take it when you are not under the stress of sitting in an office waiting for your medical visit. First thing in the morning is good. Have a seat and rest for a few minutes.
Testing at the right time and following the right procedure is also important for an accurate measurement. Be sure to test your blood pressure early morning and then again late afternoon or early evening. For the most accurate reading be sure to rest a few minutes before hitting the button. Likewise, you should complete each reading twice, 1 minute apart. The second reading is more accurate.
Write it down in a place where you can find it again and take it with you to your doctor’s appointment. Don’t forget to add in the pulse or heart rate (it’s on the blood pressure machine as well). Try to get one for your house, just like a thermometer.
Start getting to know your numbers. We’ll talk more about medications and why you want to know these numbers, but for now just get used to doing the measurements and writing them down.